It has been a few years since the term became popular, and now it has become so common. “Traveling alone,” “solo yakiniku,” “solo karaoke”, we live in an age when people can openly try things by themselves that were previously difficult to do without the company of others. In this age of diversification, there is less prejudice and resistance to “being alone.”
Views on marriage are also changing with the times. A decade ago, it was “common” for both men and women to consider marriage when they reached a certain age, but now the concept is changing to “those who want to get married should do so.” However, people who remain single past their 20s and 30s (the generation once considered “marriageable age”) are still asked questions such as, “Why do you remain single? Aren’t there any good men out there? ”
The graph shows the rate of change in the rate of unmarriage by age group. In particular, the never-marriage rate among the younger generation has been increasing in recent years, indicating that the number of cases of “not in a hurry to get married” or “not thinking about marriage itself” is also increasing.
While more and more people are choosing to “stay single” instead of getting married, a manga depicting the advantages of being single, “I’m a Single Professional When I Realize I’m Single,” is attracting attention.
This work is an essay manga depicting the single life of the author, Miwa Kamata. It delves into all aspects of how to make the single life fulfilling, from the charms of being single and how to enjoy it to how to cope with depression.
Kamata herself chose to be single and enjoys it to the fullest every day. While enjoying the “freedom” of being single, she also thinks of ways to solve her own problems and sometimes devises events that she can enjoy alone, making her a true “single professional.
Kamata says that she has never wanted to get married. He explains how he came up with the idea of drawing this manga.
I thought that although the number of single people was increasing, there were not many essay cartoons on the theme of “single. I also thought that there were no “Bachelorette” themed TV dramas or manga. I also felt that even though there were dramas and manga with the theme of “singleness,” most of them were about characters who felt somewhat ashamed of being single or were single because of their feelings about society (……).
So I started to draw manga that depicted the daily life of people like myself who are single because it is natural for them. In other words, I feel like I am drawing what I wanted to read (laughs).”
(Laughs.) Nevertheless, I sometimes get blasted by friends and relatives, especially from the older generation, asking me, “When are you getting married? Sometimes they treat you strangely because you are single. Sometimes they even treat you like a freak because you are single…. At such times, there must be people who feel guilty about being single. What would Kamata say to such people?
It would be nice if those who feel that being single is wrong could isolate whether the reason is within themselves or because they are told so by the world.
If the latter is the reason, if they get married in accordance with the public’s trend, some people may find it difficult to feel happy because they will continue to feel that they must pursue the image of a married couple or mother that the public thinks is ideal… even afterwards in their lives.
In some cases, this trend can deprive people of happiness. I would like to consciously eliminate such a trend, as I may find myself participating in it. I think that is one of the meanings of this manga. I think we are at a turning point right now.”
A life that continues to live bound by the currents is a painful one–whether you want to get married or not, you need to keep asking yourself what true happiness is for you.
In the manga, Mr. Kamata describes the “advantages of being single” as “the type of freedom that allows you to go abroad on the day you decide to. Indeed, the lightness of footwork that only a bachelor can have is a charm! What other freedoms do you have?
The freedom to live a life that is free in terms of food, time, and living space, the freedom to move wherever you want to live at any time, the freedom to choose your own interior design, the freedom to spend your money, time, and energy as you wish, the freedom to devote yourself to what you want to do, to continue to invest in your studies, to continue to improve your abilities, to live on your own initiative, and so on. Freedom is, in my opinion, one of the top luxuries one can enjoy.”
If you are alone, “you can live on your own initiative. While there is happiness that only married people can enjoy, there are also great advantages to being single.
There is still a strong preconceived notion in Japan that “this is the way a person should be,” but we live in an age where diversity is the order of the day. Perhaps we are approaching a society in which the option of being single is better understood.